|The first yellow gate of the day.|
|The yellow gates are left open in the winter only.|
Day 2, Sydenham to Hwy. 15 in Elgin, 38 km, 9 hours, 288 pictures
|First picture of the day.|
With a full days rest and a happy foot I began day 2 of my journey to hike the length of the Cataraqui Trail. Today I was beginning where I ended on Day 1, right across the street from my house, at kilometre 72 of the trail. It was 7 am and the sun was still low in the sky, I pulled out my enormous camera to take the first picture of the day and...what??? No battery! I had left the battery charging overnight so luckily it was right across the street and I was able to quickly run back home and retrieve it, emergency averted. I still hadn't found my phone that I lost on the first day of the hike so I had to put a few dollars on an old phone so I could keep in touch with my Mom so she knew when and possibly where(incase I didn't make it to Hwy. 15) to meet me at the end of the day. Now that I had a better handle on how long it would take me to hike the 38 km I was pretty sure that I would be approx. 9 hours on the trail and I felt a bit more prepared mentally to deal with being "out there"even longer this time. OK, doing the math I was probably still underestimating the time however I really thought that 9 hours would be my max as long as I didn't lollygag so much. I decided to save time by not taking too many pictures and I also tried to carry enough food and water on my person to last an hour so I wasn't having to stop and find things way back behind me(all of 4ft) on the sled. Now all I needed was for my body to cooperate and get me to where I was headed.
|A snowmobiler on Sydenham Lake|
|Sleddy and The Dion Twins.|
The stretch of trail from my house to the bay with the ice huts and a few kms beyond is anything but remote. There are houses and cottages lining the trail pretty much the length of the lake. A couple of differences between this section of trail and the section I walked previously is that there are no farms here and the homes front onto the trail which passes between them and the lake. After this "residential/cottage" section the trail becomes much more removed from civilization. If I should have been worried about any section of the trail then the section I was now approaching was probably it.
|You have now entered BEAVER COUNTRY!|
There were very few homes on the trail for the next 30 km and for the most part I had now entered into beaver country. From this point on any low lying flat areas I came to had been damned and cleared by a beaver. There was still plenty of trees in the more rolling areas and I passed over or beside a number of lakes. This section of trail also had the most beautiful rock formations as it is part of the Canadian Sheild known as the Frontenac Axis. It really was a perfect day to be on the trail and I was never bored as I tried to soak in the ever changing landscapes that were unfolding before my eyes with every step. I was so glad to be able to see it in the light of day and not at night as it would have been if I had decided to tackle the entire trail all at once.
I chose to modify my original plans mostly for safety concerns including being on the trail at night with the snowmobilers, a fear of the animals(aliens, axe murderers and evil clowns) I might encounter and not to mention the cold. I would be hiking alone without any support, possibly any phone reception and without any prior experience plus with it being my first time covering such a long distance I ultimately made the decision to turn the hike into a 3 day event. Thinking about those fears now with 20/20 hindsight I can honestly say that many of my them were valid ones. I cannot tell you how many times I was unaware that I had a pack of snowmobilers behind me and didn't hear a thing. The noise from the sled dragging drowned out almost all other sounds and seemingly from nowhere I would hear the rev of an anxious snowmobiler waiting for me to move over and give him room to pass. I can only imagine how dangerous it would have been at night. As for the animals I did see a blood soaked spot where some small animal had been killed and carried away with it's blood dripping along the trail. It was fresh on the snow and not run over by snowmobile tracks yet so it had happened not too long before I had arrived. No, I probably would not have been approached by a wild animal but alone in the dark I know it would have been quite a terrifying night and I'd probably prefer to not be alone if I was to attempt a night hike in the future. I finished the days hike feeling so much better then I had on the first day. I ran the last 10km easily and feeling strong. I actually beat my Mom to our meeting spot by a few minutes and I had a chance to look across the road at tomorrow's starting point to ponder what my next day of hiking might hold for me.
To be continued...
|Someone's watching over me.|
|What is that? Oh good it's not what I thought it was.|
|A couple of furry hooved friends|
|One of two outhouses on the entire trail I saw but didn't use .|
|All Rideau Trail people please EXIT Right, to the bottom of that rivine!|
|ONLY 50 more to GO!!|
|Another Rideau Trail sign detouring hikers off of the straight flat Cat. trail into the winding hilly woods...again.|
|The UPDATED VERSION of km marker begins.|
|You have now entered BEAVER COUNTRY!|
|The 30's begin.|
|Not wolves or coyotes, just two huge friendly trail dogs.|
|It looked like a cemetary with all of those dead tree stumps.|
|Friendly snowmobilers on their smelly machines:-(|
|I may have skid marks but at least they're straight.|
|A super cool cloud over a frozen lake.|
|The count down continues.|
|Where I'll begin the last leg of my hike.|